In God’s land, by Pankaj Rishi Kumar (70’)
After taming a former wasteland through hard work and sweat and creating a community, the settlers start living there. The mythical birth of their village God Sudalai Swami unfolds the village’s unique journey to fight the oppression of the ‘big’ Vanamamalai Temple. Now that the clergy owns the land, the settlers are reduced to being tenant farmers and must make way for redevelopment after the land is sold off for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). A dispute over God’s land begins. ‘In God’ Land’ is not only about the fight between the priests and the farmers. Using animation it recounts the history of the land and satirizes the exploitation perpetuated by religion and class distinction. The film looks at the land within the larger issue of development, forcing us to recognize the totalitarian attitude of the ideals of development, ostensibly to bring economic prosperity but rarely a benefit to real users. But the film’s most interesting element is the people living on this god’s land. Instead of fighting the temple or government, they accept this dire reality and try to find comfort in god’s will, perhaps because for them it is still the land of god.
Pola, by Kinshuk Surjan (15’)
9 year old Bittu does not understand what is happening in his village till he finds his friend’s father has committed suicide. A fear develops in Bittu of losing his father. At home he is worried to see his father slowly breaking down due to the pressure of selling the land and paying off the debts. Bittu who was carefree, boisterous, brave, now tries to understand the meaning and finality of death, while trying to protect his own father in whatever way he can.
Despite all the hardships, the farmers still celebrate festival of Pola as a tribute to their livelihood in this tender film about a father-son relationship unfolding in the context of farmer suicides.
In partnership with Vikalp Film Archive